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Fic: Observations, Ch 208
Star Trek
anon_j_anon

“You’re quiet.  Something up?”

“No.  There is nothing particular to report.”

Silence.

“Bones says I should be out of here in a few shifts.  I’ll go back on light duty, no away missions, blah blah blah.  The usual stuff.”

“That is good to hear.”

Jim looked at me.

“All right, now I know something’s up.”

“It will be fine.”

“I’ve been hearing that a lot from everyone lately.  Fine.  You, Nyota, Scotty.  Bones, Chris.  ‘I’m fine’.  Even Sulu and Chekov.  Want to tell me what the hell’s actually going on?”

“There is nothing to be done.  It will resolve itself with time.”

A pause.

“Come here.”

“Captain—”

“Come here, Spock.”

I moved closer to him.

He motioned for me to come closer still, then took my hand.

“I was thinking the other day about bonding.  You know?”

Chest tightens.

“Yes?”

He traced the line of my fingers.

“Well, you know.  I don’t know when we could get to Vulcan II to get it done—”

“Jim,” breathing his name.

“What’s that thing you like to say a lot?  ‘I wouldn’t be averse to’ whatever?”

Folding my fingers over his, holding that contact.

“Let’s do it.”

Through that touch surety and anticipation, desire and wonder, and I feel as though I am holding my breath because I did not realize he was thinking of this, the joy the elation of the thought of having a bond, a permanent link and yet—

And yet—

He thinks the memories are forgotten and at this moment, they are the farthest thing from his mind.  He thinks the rips in his mindspace are negligible but they pull.  They pull me, tear into him and unless this is somehow resolved, I fear a bond will break whatever walls he has erected and completely swallow him in the abyss of forgotten memories.

We need more time.

That does not mean I cannot begin to make preparations.

My father did ask that I send him transmissions more often.

“Spock?” uncertainty and worry in that look.

I kiss him.  I have no words, except—

“Yes.”

--

“Father, when you were bonded with mother,” I hesitated to complete my question.

“Ask, my son.  I will answer if I am able.”

“Is it possible for you to describe the experience of being bonded with her?  I am uncertain as to what to expect.”

My father’s eyes grew distant as he looked into some point in the past.  The silence between us stretched.

“Forgive me, I did not mean to—”

“There is nothing to forgive, my son.  I am not offended by your inquiry, nor does the memory of your mother cause me grief, as it once did.  I am able to think of her clearly, without the pain of separation distorting her image.  In truth, I am glad you asked.  However, I must first give you an explanation long overdue, before I may give you an answer.”

I nodded.  My father has changed, but in one aspect he is the same: he delivers lengthy lectures.

“You well know that all Vulcans are bonded to a mate in early childhood.  The ceremony of bonding had existed before Surak’s time, but it was uncommon.  After Surak, the practice became an increasingly popular solution to alleviate the problems brought on by pon farr.  It was found that the male’s plak tow was more bearable and less violent when there was mate with whom to share and express that drive.  However, in the early days after our conversion to logic, the bonding did not take place at such a young age.  Individuals chose their bondmates, rather than having a bondmate chosen for them.  It is generally agreed among our scholars that the choice was made with great consideration.  Pon farr is an intensely personal experience, thus it was logical that Vulcans preferred to bond with individuals they trusted and valued above others.

“After the establishment of the Vulcan High Council, bonding became mandatory.  The benefits and increased emotional stability brought on by bonding made is such that passing a statute was only logical.  As Vulcans learned more about bonding, they discovered that it was much easier to create a link between two children compared to two adults.  Studies showed no adverse effects to early bonding, which for the Council was sufficient justification to issue a decree that all children, particularly male children, would be bonded by the age of seven.  Families were granted the right to choose the bondmates of their children, but in all other respects the laws were inflexible.  The right for females to break the link with their bondmate came later, after several tragic incidents and a prolonged debate.

“For the most part, we accepted this as logical and followed the rules put forth.  The origins of the rituals surrounding bonding and pon farr are fascinatingly complex, as some aspects are holdovers from the days before Surak, others from the times of voluntary bonding, and still others seem to have been invented at different periods in our history.  On Vulcan, different regions had very different ceremonies, though the central components were essentially the same.  Here on the colony, because of the drastic nature of the situation after the destruction of our planet, mating rituals are undergoing a startling evolution.  Attitudes towards mating are also changing.  More surviving adults are choosing to withhold their children from being bonded at the age of seven.  Vulcans are rediscovering all the intricate complexities of choosing their own mate.  Courting rituals have reemerged, and survivors have taken to subtly inventing their own traditions when those that exist do not meet the needs of their situation.”

“You seem pleased by this development.”

“You are correct in your assessment.”

“I do not comprehend the reason.  To ensure the survival of our species, is it not logical to bond the remaining adults with one another so that we might repopulate our new planet?  Would it not be more imperative to bond the children as well?”

“It is not quite as simple as it appears, my son.  In the course of rebuilding our society some facts have come to light concerning the nature of the bond.

“The High Council thought as you did, and immediately issued a mandate that all survivors be bonded.  However, the first couple for whom the link was formed, both the male and female died three days after the bond was formed.  The second couple, the male died.  Others became gravely ill with depression or exhibited signs of rampancy.  It was evident that the new bonds were the cause of this, but the reason was unclear.  To prevent more deaths, the new links were dissolved and the healers set about to answer the question.

“What was discovered surprised the Council and our society, though I do not see why it should have been so.  We have always been an emotional species.  The fact that we suppress our emotions does not mean that we should conduct ourselves as though they do not exist.

“The healers found that the minds were rejecting the new bonds.  The individuals were mourning the loss of their mates, and to be forced into a new link when the psychological wound was still raw and open was too much for their overwhelmed emotions.  The mind responded by dying or rebelling against that link.  It was also found that the grief of some Vulcans was deeper than others, which in turn leads to the implication that some links between mates are stronger than others.  Again, I am not certain why this came as a surprise, for it is something I have known for a long time.

“I told you long ago that you have a half brother, my son by a Vulcan woman.  She and I were bonded as children, and when it came time for me to mate, I followed the ritual without second thought or consideration.  There was no reason for me to question it, as it was the only path I knew.  My father followed it, all of Vulcan society followed it, and so I followed it.  Our relationship was an ordinary one, our bond was neither weak nor strong.  It simply existed, as it always had and I assumed that it always would.

“Then, my first wife died unexpectedly.  I felt the bond between us stretch and dissolve, and I was left with a void in my mind.  For the first time, I felt the yawning chasm of being alone in my own mind.  However my grief was shallow, for I did not truly mourn the loss of my bond with her, but simply mourned the loss of the state of being bonded to another.  Still, I did not know that my emotions were dilute, as it was the first time I experienced such feelings, and grief and loneliness are powerful emotions no matter their relative intensity.  During this period of my life, I worked intensely to further my diplomatic career.  I did not seek a bond with another. The thought of being randomly bonded to an individual I did not know was intolerable to me, and I refused all the arrangements T’Pau put forward.  I knew I wanted more than a simple bond—though my bond with my first wife was not deep, at that point it the only bond I had experienced, and therefore the deepest.  We did not love each other, but we had still shared our lives together, and that contributed to the strength of our link.

“I rose through the ranks in the diplomatic corps, bringing superfluous power and prestige to our family name.  All the while, I searched for one with whom I might mate and sustain a link.  After some years, I concluded that my search was unsuccessful, and began to seriously consider giving it up entirely.

“Then, I was assigned as ambassador to the planet Terra.  I had already visited the planet several times and was fascinated by the emotional nature of its sentient species.  In the diplomatic corps, Terra is considered to be something of a dangerous assignment.  Ambassadors to the planet always come back changed, with unorthodox beliefs.  It is an important assignment, as large parts of Federation headquarters are housed on that planet, but Vulcans try to avoid extended exposure to Terran culture.  I spoke to a former ambassador to Terra before going on the assignment, and he reported that the few years he stayed on the planet changed his life, both positively and negatively, to the extent that he was not able to adequately describe the change in words.  I suggested an information exchange via telepathy, but he refused.  I was puzzled by his refusal.  All he would offer by way of explanation was that Terra was something I would have to experience for myself.

“I quickly learned the meaning of his words.  As a diplomat, I came across several problems in communication.  It was not a matter of words lost in translation, but our points of view were diametrically opposed and our rationales for those views were incomparable.  There were times when I wished to use my telepathy so that Terrans would see and understand the logic of my arguments, but did not do so.  I had to rely on my words and my ability to verbalize my thoughts.  As ambassador to this non-telepathic species, I had to work and reshape my thinking in order to come to an agreement with the Terrans.  I could see that the Terrans with whom I had daily contact also had to put in considerable effort to comprehend my point of view.

“Through the process of time, however, I found that this slow and inefficient method of communication was in some ways more rewarding than simple telepathy.  Though I did not have many close relationships with Terrans, those I did form were deeper than my relationships with most Vulcans.  I was puzzled by this contradiction, and meditated on the question for some time.  I did not find the answer until I met your mother.

“Among Vulcans, there is rarely ever a misunderstanding that cannot be resolved with relatively little effort.  As a result, the comparative amount of time and energy Vulcans devote to interpersonal relationships is much smaller than the average Terran.  We have what Terrans can only dream of—the ability to understand one another perfectly.  Yet it does not mean as much to us because we do not know what it means to miscommunicate.  We are not familiar with isolation Terrans face in their daily lives, we do not carry within us their innate knowledge that no matter what is said, they might be misunderstood.  For Terrans, relationships are based on shared experiences and understanding.  Part of their shared experience is the mutual effort to communicate with one another and to continue in that endeavor, whatever the emotional costs and whatever the personal price they must pay.

“When I began to court your mother, we often did not agree.  Your mother was a stubborn woman, though to be fair, she often accused me of being an equally stubborn male.  When she and I argued, I often wanted to communicate with her telepathically.  It was logical—it would resolve our problems in an easy and efficient manner.  Your mother, however, always refused.  At the time, I thought it highly illogical of her and her refusal frustrated me to no end.  Over the months I courted her, I began to understand why she chose not to take the easy path, and why she forced me down the harder road as well.

“Something is lost in the process of telepathy.  Understanding is gained, but there is an indescribable component of a relationship that is lost, for communication requires effort, and the effort expended is a message in and of itself.  It shows that one is willing to try, one is willing to reach out and compromise.  There is no such effort required in telepathy.  Telepathy reduces communication to a quick exchange of information rather than a shared experience.

“That is how the relationship between your mother and I progressed.  At times it was difficult, at times I found her incomprehensible and utterly illogical.  No doubt, she felt analogously towards me.  But in the end, our relationship was created by real effort on both our parts, and it made us stronger.  I learned what it means to love from her, and I believe I learned what it means to live from her.  I know I learned what it means to fear from her.  When I proposed marriage to your mother, I had no guarantee that she would not refuse me.  The minutes before I asked her the question, I was truly afraid that she would reject me.  She had told me that she loved me, but I had no telepathic assurance to support those words.  I had to trust her.  I also had to trust that my own words were adequate to convey my thoughts and feelings.

“That was the profound difference between the link I had with my first wife, and the link I had with your mother.  I would not even call the bond between myself and my first wife to be one of love.  With your mother—our link was a confirmation of our love, not the foundation of it.  It reaffirmed everything we had already said and built in words, it fortified everything we trusted to be true.  Thus, when the bond between us was created and I melded with her for the first time, it was like coming home.  There is no other way to describe the glow of her love and acceptance anchoring me in her mind.

“I am not certain if you ever took note of this as a child, but your mother and I always vocalized our arguments and worked through our disagreements with words, rather than taking advantage of our link.  I believe it made our bond stronger and deeper.  When your mother died, the pain I felt at her loss was excruciating.  Utterly indescribable.  The bond between us snapped, but I also physically ached for her presence, her body, her voice.  I loved your mother body and soul.  It was not simply an attachment of the mind, but precious thing we created in reality.

“That is what Vulcans are discovering now.  There are adults who no longer want their bondmates to serve a simple biological purpose.  We are a logical species, but we are not a robotic species.  Vulcans are discovering the loneliness of their minds and they want something meaningful to fill that void.  Objectively speaking, it is the inefficient way to go about the business of reproduction, but I find that this method operates under a more sophisticated logic.”

I was stunned into silence by my father’s candor and honesty.  Certain facts, certain decisions he made in my life fell into place, particularly his choice not to bond me to another after T’Pring’s household severed our connection.  His words did not explain everything, particularly his disownment of me after I chose to attend Starfleet.  I found, however, that the sting of that injury had long faded.  I could look back on that time without the resentment and anger I had felt before.  Hindsight gave me the advantage of seeing that the experience changed me.  I would not be the same person today if I had not faced those struggles and endured that isolation.

I looked at my father.  My mother, and the death of my mother, changed him profoundly.

“I truly am thankful for you, my son,” he said quietly.  “Your mother lives on in you in so many ways, and for that I am profoundly grateful.  I only wish she were alive to see the man you have become.  She would have been unspeakably happy to celebrate your bonding.”

I nodded.

As always, whatever you choose to be, you will have a proud mother.

Silence fell between myself and my father.  After an interval, my father spoke again.

“He is a good man, my son.  I have seen pictures—the light that burns in his eyes and the love he holds for you in his soul.  I will be proud to call him one of my own house.”

“Thank you, father,” I replied softly.  Whatever reception I expected to receive from my father, this was far better.

“You have found more than a bondmate,” he continued.

I looked at him, puzzled.  The expression on his face was as it always is—calm and stoic, but his eyes gleamed.

“You have found the true meaning of t’hy’la.”

 



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*am incoherent*

Utterly beautiful.


OMG!! That last line made me had a slash stroke!! It was so romantic, it is, actually.
Just wonderful...

Sarek always manages to blow me away.

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